Are you quite the gabber during the night, or is your sleeping partner? Learn more, below, about why people chatter during slumber.
Sleep talking is a sleep disorder defined as talking during sleep without being aware of it. Technically called “somniloquy,” talking while you get your zzz’s can occur during any stage of sleep, but it is most likely to be comprehensible to a bed partner during REM sleep. Talking during deeper sleep (NREM sleep, stages three and four) just sounds like gibberish. Talking during any sleep stage can involve mumbles, moans, calling out, or whispering, but it is not considered a product of consciousness. The words don’t have real meaning to the sleep talker; the person doesn’t know what he or she is saying.
Anyone can sleep talk, but it can be genetic and it tends to occur more in men and in children. Most children grow out of the habit; only an estimated five percent of adults talk in their sleep. Some factors, including sleep deprivation, alcohol, drugs, fever, stress, anxiety, and depression can all lead to sleep talking. Typically, sleep talking is not considered something that requires treatment, unless a sleep mate is chronically disturbed by it. It may co-exist with other “parasomnias” such as night terrors, sleepwalking, and sleep apnea. While not common, sleep talking that starts after age 25 may be related to other medical issues.